Pictured: Jac Thompson
Successful students from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College have been celebrated at an event to showcase promising talent and to honour this year’s higher education graduates.
The event, which was hosted at the Jury’s Inn hotel in Hinckley, included a musical medley from the College’s performing arts students, and an inspirational keynote address by guest speaker Penny Power OBE from Ecademy.
Star students included Gemma Lee from Loughborough who works for handmade car interiors company, Ruskin Design, and was rewarded for leading a team that produced the first ever vegan interior for a Land Rover.
Kacey Barker won the Principal’s prize for delivering excellent customer service in her role as a retail apprentice at Joco Interiors in Nuneaton.
Jac Thompson from Earl Shilton was rewarded for progressing from a Level 2 programme into higher education as part of his performing arts studies at the College’s Hinckley campus. Jac excelled as the lead in shows including ‘We Will Rock You’.
Chloe Bradshaw from Leicester was singled out for her impressive work ethic and for overcoming personal challenges to achieve an HNC in Business at the College’s Wigston campus.
In addition, around 60 graduates were presented with certificates for completing their higher education programmes, representing around 240 who successfully achieved a range of degree-level qualifications this year.
Also recognised as part of the evening were the students who triumphed at the national finals of the WorldSkills UK LIVE competition that took place earlier this month, putting the College in first place in England, and fifth in the UK.
The students won Gold medals for culinary arts and digital video production, and Silver and Bronze for customer service. In addition, as part of the Inclusive Skills competition for young people with special educational needs and disabilities, students won Silver and Bronze medals for media and woodworking and one student was awarded ‘highly commended’ in the IT competition.
Pictured: WorldSkills UK LIVE Winners – Digital Production – Sam, William, Oliver, Niamh
In her keynote address, Penny Power OBE said how impressed and moved she had been by the students’ stories and emphasised the importance of self-belief, highlighting to the audience how it is possible to overcome adversity in order to achieve life goals.
Penny was awarded her OBE in 2014 for her contribution to the social digital economy by being the first person in the world to launch a social network for business. Ecademy was launched in 1998, trail-blazing the concept of online friendship in business.
Guests at the awards event included the mayors and consorts of Hinckley & Bosworth, Oadby & Wigston, Nuneaton & Bedworth, and North Warwickshire councils, plus local employers, and partners from the University of Leicester and the Midland Academies Trust.
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive said, “It was fantastic to see so many people coming together to celebrate our students’ achievements. Last night was a magical evening of celebration for all our higher education graduates and a select number of stars from across the College who were nominated for special recognition. We were delighted to welcome guests from our partner colleges, universities and schools, and the business and organisations from our local communities that we work with closely throughout the year, to share in our celebrations.
“For many of our students, the college environment provides a lifeline for them to learn and develop personally, where they are supported to achieve their full potential. Our staff work hard every day to encourage them to aspire to reach heights they may not have considered possible.
“It has been a fantastic year for the College group with many highlights including the completion of our new state-of-the-art training centre for automotive engineering, the MIRA Technology Institute, the endorsement provided by Ofsted for the significant progress we have made since our merger in 2016, and our students’ success in many prestigious competitions.”